Should WWE ever look to rekindle it, there’s still plenty of money to be made in a feud involving two of its biggest stars: Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Their main event match on Monday was a reminder of that fact, nearly one full year since they last squared off in a televised singles match. With their explosive in-ring chemistry on full display, the former Shield members placed an entertaining capstone onto Monday’s episode of Raw, serving as a final preview for the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday.
Along with Reigns-Rollins, the other three members of Sunday’s Fatal 5-Way extreme rules main event, which will determine who will face universal champion Brock Lesnar in July, saw action in a triple threat that was nearly as entertaining. But while the quality of matches were strong, WWE largely failed to advance the main event storyline in any meaningful way for the second straight week.
The majority of intrigue from a creative standpoint in Monday’s episode surrounding the ongoing question of who attacked Enzo Amore after he was once again found beaten down backstage. The classic whodunnit was well booked with a number of possible suspects emerging including Big Cass, The Revival and possibly even general manager Kurt Angle, who reacted negatively to a cryptic text message shown to him by color commentator Corey Graves early in the episode.
Raw featured a mixture of highs and lows (including an awful “This Is Your Life” segment featuring Bayley and Alexa Bliss) but moved quickly once again, which does well to help you forget about the misses along the way.
WWE Raw results
Miz TV — The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro: Miz called out Dean Ambrose for stealing his Intercontinental title and told Cesaro and Sheamus that fans turned their back on them once The Hardy Boyz returned. Ambrose ran in to dispute the “three buttheads” and brought The Hardyz as backup. A brief brawl ensued. During the commercial break, Raw general manager Kurt Angle predictably booked an immediate six-man tag team match.
Dean Ambrose & The Hardy Boyz def. The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro via pinfall: After a late hot tag to Jeff Hardy, it wasn’t long before all six men entered the ring. Ambrose landed a Dirty Deeds on Cesaro before taking out Sheamus with a suicide dive, and The Hardyz took advantage. Matt landed a Twist of Fate on The Miz before tagging in Jeff for a Swanton Bomb and the 1-2-3. After the match, Graves received a message on his phone and abruptly left the announce table.
Backstage — Kurt Angle and Corey Graves: The announcer delivered his cell phone to Angle, who read aloud a cryptic message calling him “a disgrace and an embarrassment to the WWE” and that his status as an Olympic medalist might be in question. Graves said he’s on Angle’s side and would hate to see anything throw a wrench in his status as GM. Angle closed by saying, “If this is true, it could ruin me.”
The unexplained nature of this segment made it feel fresh, which makes one wonder whether it’s connected to the unsolved mystery of Enzo’s backstage beatdown last week. Including the talented Graves into a storyline was a welcome advancement.
Elias Samson def. Zac Evans: Good showcase squash match for Samson despite a silent reaction from the crowd. Samson delivered his swinging neck-breaker to set up the pin. After the match, Graves returned to the announce table. When asked by Michael Cole where he was, Graves said, “It’s private.”
Backstage — Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt: In an interview, Joe said he analyzed Finn Balor’s WWE 24 special to see his weaknesses and analyze how to hurt him. As soon as he mentioned Wyatt, however, the lights dimmed and Wyatt appeared on the video monitor next to Joe. After telling Joe he’s just like all the rest, “you’re blind,” Wyatt said he’s the only one who can defeat “The Beast” Brock Lesnar.
Samoa Joe def. Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor via pinfall: Good energy in this lengthy, three-segment match. Joe landed a big spot early by superplexing Balor just as Wyatt aided from underneath with a power bomb. The two heels spent a long time teaming up on Balor until Wyatt finally turned on Joe. Balor heated up late and landed a Coup de Grace on Wyatt, but Joe attacked him from behind and threw him out of the ring to steal the pin on Wyatt.
For as fun as the match turned out — it featured big spots and physicality — the lack of anything at stake for the second straight week was hard to overlook.
Backstage — Seth Rollins: In an interview, Rollins reminisced on the highs and lows of his past with Reigns. He knows two things entering tonight’s main event: Every time he gets in the ring with Reigns it’s a war because both want to be the best, and “Seth ‘Freaking’ Rollins owns Roman Reigns.” Rollins closed the strong promo by saying it won’t be personal when he defeats Reigns and sends a message to everyone in Sunday’s Fatal 5-Way match.
Rich Swann def. Noam Dar via pinfall: In a preview of their mixed tag team match that was added to Sunday’s PPV card, Sasha Banks proved to be a big factor in Swann’s corner by tripping Alicia Fox on the ring apron to prevent her from interfering. Swann then landed his Phoenix Splash on Dar to get the pin. Banks and Swann took part in some playful dancing after the match.
While it would be easy to complain about the overall marginalization of Banks, which includes her role in this feud, her pairing opposite Swann was hard not to enjoy thanks to their natural chemistry.
Backstage — The Revival: Dash Wilder’s broken jaw was displayed as Scott Dawson explained why they haven’t appeared on Raw in six weeks. Charly Caruso played footage of her interview with Banks last week, which revealed Wilder and Dawson walking in the background and shaking their fists. Dawson retracted his statement that The Revival weren’t around when Enzo was attacked but closed by saying they wouldn’t waste their time with Enzo, calling him “a tilapia of Raw, a bottom feeder.”
On stage — Corey Graves and Big Cass: After Cole referenced The Revival video, Graves mentioned that Big Cass saw the footage but wouldn’t elaborate on it. Cass then approached Graves, angry he insinuated that Cass had anything to do with the attack. Graves backpedaled, saying he meant Cass was likely doing his own investigating. Cass answered, “Indeed I am,” before forcefully shaking Graves’ hand and leaving.
Titus O’Neil def. Kalisto via pinfall: Looking to show apprentice Apollo Crews how it’s done after his loss to Kalisto last week, O’Neil made quick work of the luchador and grabbed a handful of tights after rolling him up for the pin.
This is Your Life — Alexa Bliss and Bayley: After deftly fighting off “What” chants from the crowd, Bliss welcomed guests from Bayley’s past, including her fourth grade teacher, former best friend and ex-boyfriend. Each guest exposed Bayley’s lack of extreme throughout her life. Bayley ran in late to attack Bliss, but after Bliss pulled out a Kendo stick from under the table inside the ring, Bayley once again found herself on the business end of it.
This was about as bad as a Raw segment can get, quickly reminding of last year’s “Old Day” debacle involving The New Day. Not only was the acting poor, the writing was even more brutal. The segment also broke Bliss’ streak of being able to take whatever was dealt to her and make it work. She tried hard in this one but came up painfully short.
Backstage — Enzo Amore attacked again: Paramedics provided medical attention to Enzo, who was once again knocked out. An angry Cass showed up to ask where The Revival was, to which Angle said they had previously left the building. Despite Angle telling him to go somewhere and calm down, Cass refused to leave Enzo’s side.
Austin Aries & Jack Gallagher def. Neville & TJP via submission: In a strong preview of Sunday’s submission match for the WWE cruiserweight championship, Aries closed a high-energy match by forcing Neville to tap to Last Chancery.
Backstage — Roman Reigns: Angry about Rollins’ comments, Reigns said “there is not a man on this earth that owns me.” He closed by saying tonight is about showing Rollins “and the rest of the world why I am the Big Dog and why this is my yard.”
Vignettes — Goldust and R-Truth: In a pair of dueling rants presented as movie trailers, Goldust explained his heel turn by saying R-Truth selfishly held him back and that he’s “back in the director’s chair where I have always belonged.” R-Truth countered with a surprise vignette, saying, “You’re gonna get got.”
Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins via pinfall: Reigns picked up a large block of momentum heading into Sunday with a victory in this main event, which felt like a PPV match. The crowd at it up as both superstars kicked out of a series of near falls late, including Rollins getting a two count after both a Blockbuster and a five-star frog splash. In the end, Rollins missed a Phoenix splash from the top rope, and after trading strikes with Reigns, ate a spear to set up the pin.
It’s fairly obvious the booking here was all about WWE maximizing television ratings as almost nothing was on the line from a storyline perspective. The quality of the match was good enough to make you forget that temporarily, however, as Reigns and Rollins continued to showcase just how amazing their chemistry is should WWE look to reignite another feud.